Born Mar 18 1858 - Died Sep 29 1913
Patent Number(s) 608,845
Though best known for his invention of the pressure-ignited heat engine that bears his name, the French-born Rudolf Diesel was also an eminent thermal engineer, a connoisseur of the arts, a linguist, and a social theorist. Diesel's inventions have three points in common: They relate to heat transference by natural physical processes or laws; they involve markedly creative mechanical design; and they were initially motivated by the inventor's concept of sociological needs. Diesel originally conceived the diesel engine as a facility, readily adaptable in size and costs and utilizing locally available fuels, to enable independent craftsmen and artisans better to endure the powered competition of large industries that then virtually monopolized the predominant power source-the oversized, expensive, fuel-wasting steam engine.
His engines were used to power pipelines, electric and water plants, automobiles and trucks, and marine craft, and soon after were used in applications including mines, oil fields, factories, and transoceanic shipping.
During 1885 Diesel set up his first shop-laboratory in Paris and began his 13-year ordeal of creating his distinctive engine. At Augsburg, on August 10, 1893, Diesel's prime model, a single 10-foot iron cylinder with a flywheel at its base, ran on its own power for the first time. Diesel spent two more years at improvements and on the last day of 1896 demonstrated another model with the spectacular, if theoretical, mechanical efficiency of 75.6 percent, in contrast to the then-prevailing efficiency of the steam engine of 10 percent or less. Although commercial manufacture was delayed another year and even then begun at a snail's pace, by 1898 Diesel was a millionaire from franchise fees in great part international.